Week 14, 2018: Speakers for purse or bag, Soundmatters speakers review, UPstage 360 speaker

Sound Advice

By Don Lindich

Week 14, 2018

Q. I have an OontZ Angle 3 Ultra that I love very much, but it takes up a bit too much space in my purse to take with me every day. Last year you wrote about a small speaker that is unobtrusive in a purse or bag. That is what I am looking for, and I want the highest quality. What do you recommend?

-J.K., Sam Mateo, CA

A. The Soundmatters foxLv2, foxL DASH7 and Moment are the best possible speakers for this application. They range from $129 to $179 depending on the model, with the Moment being especially small, about the size of an iPhone but slightly thicker. The Moment is designed for listening up close, so if you plan on using the speaker with a phone or tablet in your hand it may be the better choice. The foxL models can fill a pretty big area with excellent sound, which is pretty remarkable given their size, and all the Soundmatters speakers have the solid feel of a smoothly finished (yet lightweight) block of metal.

If this is the kind of speaker you are looking for, Soundmatters is having a site-wide sale until the end of April with the coupon code SAVE15, good for 15% off your entire order. soundmatters.com

Speaking of Soundmatters, they recently teamed up with Level 10 to create a product readers should check out, simply because it is so cool! It is a speaker called the UPstage 360 and though I have not heard one myself yet, it is getting rave reviews from the most respected and influential names in the high-end audio world.

The UPstage 360 is a 3-way speaker that can produce as much deep bass as a large bookshelf speaker, yet is compact enough to fit on a tabletop. It spreads sound in a 360-degree stereo pattern so the entire room receives the full effect.

It has a dock that can hold an Echo Dot, allowing you to convert the UPstage 360 into a smart speaker.

Part of the coolness is undoubtedly the looks, which are unlike anything I have ever seen. Describing the appearance of the UPstage 360 is difficult, at least if I try to use conventional terms. It somewhat resembles a Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 5 (a speaker that costs over $20,000/pair) in cylindrical form, with a hint of can opener thrown in at the top. If you are a classic sci-fi fan like myself, think of something plucked out of the Krell lab in Forbidden Planet, or perhaps a device from a Gerry Anderson TV show like Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, or Thunderbirds.

The ZVOX Kickstarter promotions I have mentioned in the past have been very popular as they make it possible to pre-order products at a significant discount. Though it is called a “Pledge” you are actually pre-ordering the product. A limited number of UPstage 360 speakers are available at a discounted price via a similar program. The regular retail price will be $499, but until April 17 you can purchase it for as little as $329. (At the time I submitted the column there were 79 units available at this price.) There are also offers to buy the speaker and an Echo Dot for $359 (65 units available, and in my opinion the best deal) and an unlimited number of units at $369 each. You can see the promotion by going to https://tinyurl.com/upstage360 or searching online for Upstage 360.